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#219 - Cathrin Machin & Ian Lauer - Space Art

Matt chats with world-acclaimed space artist Cathrin Machin and astrophotographer Ian Lauer about space and art. Chris joins Matt to talk about some of the things that happened this week in space exploration and some bigger than normal White Dwarfs




"At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless sceptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense"

Carl Sagan




Cathrin Machin a deep space contemporary artist committed to create a bigger appreciation of space and allow people to contemplate the biggest questions in the universe by connecting them with the stars through her art. Hear how she jump-started her career by selling her paintings through a crowd-funding campaign in 2016. Nearly five years, and 3 Kickstarter campaigns later, Cat is now the world's most successful crowd-funded painter. Her fourth campaign: creating a massive 3D chandelier to replicate the Milky Way Galaxy, with the help of GAIA Mission data from ESA.




Ian Lauer, an astronomer and astrophotographer, adventurer, and public speaker with a passion for sharing the wonders of the night sky. With a background in astrophysics, He has worked with the top telescope manufacturers and retailers in the world, building telescope systems for private & professional observatories, astrophotographers, government projects and educational institutes.







Lev Dyomin


Lev Stepanovich Dyomin - 11 January 1926 – 18 December 1998[ Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 15 spaceflight in 1974. This spaceflight was intended to dock with the space station Salyut 3, but the docking failed.

  • Born in Moscow.

  • doctoral degree in engineering from the Soviet Air Force Engineering Academy

  • Colonel in the Soviet Air Force

  • Aged 48 at the time of his flight on Soyuz 15, he was the oldest cosmonaut up to that point as well as

  • the first grandfather to go into space.

  • He remained in the program until leaving in 1982 to pursue deep-sea research.

  • Dyomin died of cancer, in Zvyozdny Gorodok, in 1998




Space News





Roscosmos has apparently sued itself.

  • Dmitry Rogozin "Several years ago, our subsidiary used a rocket that it had manufactured to put into the orbit a satellite that it had also manufactured. Soon, the latter had 'died' in the orbit, In line with the current legislation, we are obliged to file a lawsuit in connection with the satellite's failure. Those guilty left long ago, but we are obliged to punish the enterprise and its current employees for the mistakes committed by people who have not been working at this plant for quite a while,"

  • If the lawsuit is not filed on time, top management at Roscosmos will have to stand trial themselves.


NASA sets date for SLS hot-fire test.




Jeff Bezos names rocket catcher after his mom. "New Glenn's first stage will come home to the Jacklyn after every flight. It couldn't be more appropriately named — Mom has always given us the best place and best heart to come home to,"


Elon Musk overtook Bezos to become the richest man on the planet.

He thought it was odd, but had to get back to work.


Brilliant X-rays reveal what might be a new type of star

A strange and unstable astronomical object seems to have formed from the merger of two white dwarfs.


Paper: X-rays observations of a super-Chandrasekhar object reveal an ONe and a CO white dwarf merger product embedded in a putative SN Iax remnant⋆

Lidia M. Oskinova et al

Unusual X-ray emissions from a star called J005311 suggest that it was created by the explosive merger of two ultra-dense white dwarfs, which are the type of object that the Sun will become at the end of its life.

  • A white dwarf’s atomic nuclei and electrons are squeezed together, allowing a regular star’s mass to pack into an Earth-sized sphere. If it gets too big, it collapses into a neutron star.

  • J005311 is too bright to be an ordinary white dwarf.

  • The authors predict that it will collapse into a neutron star within 10,000 years of its formation.

  • The merger of two white dwarfs (WDs) is a natural outcome of the evolution of many binary stars.

  • Recently, a WD merger product, IRAS 00500+6713, was identified. IRAS 00500+6713 consists of a central star embedded in a circular nebula.

  • The analysis of the optical spectrum of the central star revealed that it is hot, hydrogen, and helium free, and it drives an extremely fast wind with a record breaking speed.

  • Usually, white dwarfs are composed of carbon and oxygen (CO white dwarf). If the mass of the progenitor is between 8 and 10.5 solar masses (M☉), the core temperature will be sufficient to fuse carbon but not neon, in which case an oxygen–neon–magnesium (ONeMg or ONe) white dwarf may form

  • IRAS 00500+6713 resulted from a merger of an ONe and a CO WD, which supports earlier suggestion for a super-Chandrasekhar mass of this object.

  • X-ray analysis indicates that the merger was associated with an episode of carbon burning

  • In X-rays, they observe the point source associated with the merger product while the surrounding diffuse nebula is a supernova remnant. IRAS 00500+6713 will likely terminate its evolution with another peculiar Type I supernova, where the final core collapse to a neutron star might be induced by electron captures.

  • XMM Newton ESA space telescope.


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